Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Its about to hit the fan

I just want to apologize in advance if my blog sees some inactivity soon. My plate just keeps getting fuller and fuller.

Whats up:
~teaching is always going on, but somehow this is not supposed to take a lot of time. hmmmm
~we are going to submit another paper by the end of the week...or at least that is the goal. Still so much to do to make this happen.
~I was also told about two fellowships that I should (meaning need to) apply for, but the deadline is 2.1.09. nice notice
~I did some mechanistic work related to my current project, but it is going to be published with another paper. The other guys are all done with generating their examples and just told me yesterday that I need to run more labeling experiments to get more info about their mechanism ( I didn't even know I was going on that paper until this week). So now they are waiting on me.
~Molecule of the Month. Every semester, Mike has the group divided into two teams, each with a leader. Then he chooses some big, hairy, scary natural product and we compete to propose the best synthesis. Ryan is a team leader but he hasn't been able to work much on the molecule or assign tasks for his team....so I need to help him with that so it is not a totally bad presentation.
~And my seminar is March 2nd. I need to start making my presentation so I have enough time to get it all polished.
~I need to get my car fixed. I was running errands on Sunday and all of a sudden it sounded like my exhaust was disconnected or something because it was freaking LOUD. My little cute 4runner sounded like one of those muscle cars or something. Ryan heard it and liked it, said it reminded him of his old Ram Charger (which had cut off exhaust and open headers...yeah like I said, LOUD) I was able to drive back to my apartment, albeit slowly, because the mechanics are all closed on Sundays. So I need to get my car towed and figure out what the deal is. My poor car.
In the meantime, Ryan is letting me use his car because he lives fairly close to campus and has more buses going by his place, so its a bit easier for him to get by without a car.

Can you see me stressing out?

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Things on my to do list:

~make receiving blankets, headband, and burping cloths for Lindsay's baby girl due next month!
~finish the Bliss Blanket (what an undertaking). But I have been working on it every day/night. even if only for an hour or so.
~make ryan a duvet/sheet/pillowcase set. ..the one he has is so old and falling apart. haha...guys. they can get by with so little.
~ make myself matching pajama shorts to Ryan's pants.
~crochet Easter bunnies for Maddie and Hayden (Riki's kids)
~make myself something for once....I am thinking a pretty knitted sweater. I need to pick out one I want to make...and get started on it asap so I can hopefully wear it this winter! yikes
~sew sew sew! sun dresses for summer. =)
~I think I'd like a pair of linen pants too....so comfy!
~ I think I should try my hand at a quilt ....let's not be too ambitious and do a lap quilt this year.
~As soon as it gets a little warmer....redo my window boxes and baskets on the balcony.

I think that is all I am going to put down for now. I have so little free time to do fun crafty projects I don't want to jinx myself by putting a whole bunch of things down and then not be able to do them. I am a list person, I love to make lists of things to do and cross them off. Ahhhh...the glorious feeling of accomplishing/finishing something! And nothing feels worse than a whole list of things that couldn't be done....so I am not going to set myself up for failure. If there is one thing I have learned, it's to have reasonable expectations for myself.

It's Thursday....almost the end of the week. And a beautiful Thursday too.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back to school

Classed started today. Whoop-dee-doo. I am not ready for the semester to start yet. I still feel like I have ALOT of research stuff to do...and I am not ready to share my time with teaching now too. We sent back the galley proofs for our JACS paper today, so if all goes well I would expect to see it online sometime next week. In the meantime, I am desperately trying to finish up this other project. There are still a few experiments to run....it would be nice to get a couple more examples with different types of alkynes (molecules with a triple bond) but they are not behaving very nicely. The paper could probably get in in somewhere decent with what we have, but I would like to see it stronger in its content. Also, I have been busy compiling a dossier on all the background since big M wants to start writing the paper tomorrow. I know once he starts writing the pace will pick up real quick and he will want to submit once he is finished writing. grrrr. such impatience sometimes....so I am already stressing about the upcoming pressure and trying to alleviate what I can now.
I really want to go for a run....I think am going to do that tonight when I get home. It will probably help "get it all out" and make me sleep because I will be tired.
I am TAing for Dr. Laude again this semester...for the freshman general chemistry class (about 500 students). They had the other three TAs last semester so he really only introduced me, as his all-star TA...won awards, etc. I got a nice "ooooo" from the class. haha! Even though I know teaching is going to take away from desperately needed research time, it also gives me desperately needed away from lab time (does that even make sense?) I like getting away from lab every once in a while, and teaching is a good opportunity to do so. I love it!

This is very silly, but FYI....it IS possible to get a cat's game in ConnectFour. Ryan got me this game as one of my Christmas presents, mostly because he likes to play it and didn't want to buy it for himself. Anyhow, he is pretty good and tricky, but I caught on quickly (you can't really blame me for my rustiness since it had been uhhh 15 years or so since I played). We TRIED to get cats games (one player focuses on offense, the other on defense only) and couldn't do it. usually one or the other was forced to win. And then when we were just playing and finally got it.... I'd say ten games later. haha! Here's the proof.

it's harder than you think! (V-red, R-black)

Monday, January 19, 2009


Ryan took Chris (a good friend from the group) and I to a reptile show a couple weeks ago. They had all kinds of cool stuff...a whole bunch of bearded dragons, iguanas and geckos. There were also a few turtle breeders. They had a venomous reptile display...with rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths and the like. They all looked vicious and so mean. It was cool to be able to look at them so closely though. Of course, snake breeders were there too, and Bob Clark had an exhibit. Bob is THE GUY when it comes to snakes, especially large ones like the burmese and reticulated pythons. He breeds the normals morphs, but there are also really freaking cool ones....like leucistic (all color genes absent....so the snake is completely white, with black eyes) which looks pretty creepy. Also tiger, diamond, granite or patternless morphs to name a few, hybrids (crossovers between snake breeds) and many many others...all super expensive! Ryan was is heaven though. He spent most of the time by Bob's tables. Bob is a really nice guy (and he is from Oklahoma), so Ryan was talking with him about how he was having some trouble with the boas (Johnny and June) shedding. Bob told him he had his cages too dry, and gave him some tricks to how to make their sheds better and easier for them.
Well of course all the snakes Bob brought there were on sale. Did you guys know that Apollo (who in our unbiased opinion is the prettiest albino Burm we have seen yet) is from Bob? Anyways....Bob had some baby rainbows for sale too. Yes, i bet you guessed it, Ryan got them. But I think it was a pretty reasonable buy....he already had a the cage from when the burms were smaller, and these are SO small they will not outgrow is for a very long time. They can share a cage and by the time they are sexually mature for breeding, Johnny and June will be on the older end for that. Plus Ryan will most likely be settled someplace. Also, since they are from Bob Clark, we know that they will grow up to be beautiful snakes for breeding. It is hard to tell what their colors will be now, but Bob told us the father was a light orangey color and the mom was a deep red. I LOVE the deep red rainbows, they are absolutely gorgeous. So....here they are!

The boy is closest to the camera. You can see that he is a quite a bit lighter than the female. I do hope that she gets to be dark red!

They are so tiny!

Ryan has not named them yet. I think he wants to see what their personalities are like. The girl is a fiesty little thing though. She bit him already. I don't know that it is necessarily feistiness....probably more nervousness and trying to defend themselves. Rainbow boas are arboreal (tree-living) snakes, and they don't get very big. In the wild, they are prey to birds, monkeys, other snakes, etc. So they are naturally very wary and shy. Johnny and June are great...I think Johnny is a little sweetheart. So these little ones just need to be handled more.
But wait, I am not done! I went with Ryan to the pet store yesterday afternoon and they had all kinds of cool new things there. One was a blue (yes blue!) garter snake. He (I don't know if it is a he) is really pretty, and fast! The best thing is he eats fish. They guy said to just put some small feeder fish in the water bowl, and he will snatch them out of the water. Ryan still had an extra cage and the garter snake was really cheap....so Ryan got him. I just want to see him hunt the fish....that sounds like the coolest thing to me! I hope Ryan puts some branches in the cage so that Gemini (that's what Ryan named it... after a boss character whose level he couldn't beat on his Nintendo game when he was younger. He hated this at first because he couldn't beat him, but then he thought Gemini was the coolest "boss" and has liked the name ever since) can climb them and hunt the fish from above. It's pretty funny because now his living room really is like a reptile den.

Sage and Apollo

Here is a picture I took of Sage (brown, about 4 ft) and Apollo (yellow, 5.5 ft) a couple weeks ago. They are getting so big. Sage I will say is pretty fierce. His nickname for her is "hissy missy". But she is very obvious when she is mad, and when she is like that, it's best to leave her alone. I think Ryan will have his hands full with her when she is bigger. Apollo on the other hand is like a dog. Ryan lets him out and he just follows you around. He always has eating on his mind though, and oftentimes he will find his way over to the bathroom and hang out in the tub. He will just look out like, "Hey guys! I'm ready....lets do this!" He cracks me up. He really is very pretty...I wish the picture was a little better (and I think he was about to shed here, so his skin is a bit opaque) Most albinos have very little color and are mostly a blah pale yellow, or mostly white with some yellow blotches. But Apollo's pattern is very pronounced and he is a vibrant yellow.

Friday, January 16, 2009

All about Tesia

It's been a slow week. I haven't had alot of time to do much outside of work. So here is a post all about my little diva Tesia... I mean, come on, what is NOT about Tesia? This is what I think a normal Tesie-cat routine is (based on things I have seen her do during the day on days off, or physical evidence when I come home).

~ 7:30 - 8am: Jump on mom and lick her face to make her get out of bed. Keep jumping on mom until she gets up. Cry and follow her around until she leaves for work.
During the day: Watch the birds on the bird feeder. Sleep. Eat. Play with my catnip toys. Run around and hide in the cupboards. Sleep on mom's bed. Sleep in my bed. Watch some more birds. Hunt the squirrels that terrorize mom's balcony. Eat. Do laps around the apartment. Tear up the tissue box and shred it all. Chew on mom's tulips. Sleep some more and wait to hear mom coming down the stairs.
When I hear mom: Run to the front door and greet her. Stretch myself out right in front of her feet and stick out my belly...because who wouldn't want to rub it?
At night: beg mom when she is in the kitchen....especially when I hear a can opener. get high on some catnip. Run off my high by doing laps around the couch, into moms room, into the bathroom and into the tub making sure i rustle the shower curtains really loud and then back around the couch again all while making crazy meowing noises. (mom calls this my witching hour). sharpen my claws on the couch to get mom's attention, even though I have a special clawing post she bought me, sit on mom's lap if she decides to watch a movie. play with the curtains.
Bed time: curl up next to mom.
Sigh....the life of a cat. Sounds nice doesn't it?

Miss Tesia "kneading" herself a spot on her little bed.

All soft and comfortable
(I was enjoying a fire the previous night, which is why that red blanket is on the ground)

I did get a job as a tutor though. A mom found me on the UT tutor list and asked me if I could help her high school daughter with chemistry. It is only for about a hour and a half a week and they are really close to campus, so it will be nice to make a little bit extra money!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Ok, maybe my mom or Ashley will be able to recognize the movie line I based my title off of. Anywho....I cut, no chopped my hair off. I have been wanting to do something different with it....I love the length and its layered prettiness, but I have had long hair for so long I was looking for a change. And not the short little bobs that is so common, but something more collar-bone length. Like Gwynnie. I wasn't sure if I was ready to part ways with my hair, until I heard a local spa was doing a Locks of Love hair drive, and cutting hair for $20. That's when I decided I would do it.
I told the stylist that I wanted the front collarbone length and go slightly shorter in the back ...to keep it interesting (I even brought four different pics of Gwyns from different angles so that she could see what I wanted). But I didn't want anything too dramatic. Shouldn't be too hard to achieve, right? Well, my hair is short. Much shorter than I was going for. She started in the back, and then she was going to angle the front once the back was done. I knew I was in trouble when she snipped off my ponytails (the gathered hair for LOL)...she cut them way too close to my neck. Once that was done, I knew it was just going to look too weird for the front to reach all the way to my collarbone. And it just kept getting shorter and shorter as she was evening out the front. I can't even put it up in a ponytail. But It looks ok...I am just not used to it, and have gotten compliments on it so far. It is a little blunter than I would like....maybe it just needs to grow on me. Oh well. Hair is hair....and mine grows really fast. And someone who really needs hair is going to hopefully get a nice wig from mine.
I am looking forward to playing with it though....pinning it up in cute ways, curling it, etc. I can still use the pretty clips my brother got me, so that is good! Ok, I bet you are all wondering what it looks like. (please forgive the bathroom photo! I needed the mirror so you could see the back.)

My hair, now 15 inches shorter!

Monday, January 12, 2009


We found out today that our paper was accepted to JACS (journal of the american chemical society)! This is the paper which culminated from the [hellish] project that Ryan and I worked on, and a postdoc later joined. I am a bit surprised it got in, but I'll take it! Only minor revisions are necessary. I'll keep you posted, and once it goes online I can provide a link to it so those interested can check it out. Yay!

p.s. Though sick and still recovering....the boss returned from a "slam dunk" trip. whatever that means....

Friday, January 9, 2009

More Austin wildlife

Most of you know that I have a big greenbelt behind my apartment. I love this since my balcony does not overlook the parking lot or pool, or more apt. buildings, and it is really private and pretty. There is a pretty big gulch....with lots of trees and a "crick" (as Ryan would say it...lol) in the middle. Ryan and I went exploring down there one day....it was so funny to watch him running through the trees and whacking things with sticks...like the little kid he is at heart. We found some sort of skeleton/bones once. Since I do have the "wild" as my backyard....I do have encounters with Austin wildlife. I had an earlier post about all my little birdie friends that I love to watch. I also posted about the "armadiller" I caught on film one night while coming hom from school. Also, almost every night in the fall and winter, I hear a pack of coyotes doing their screeching/howling business right outside in the back. It's pretty creepy, and always scares the begeebies out of Tesie....quickly sending her under my bed. But Austin is also "hill country" and we have deer here too. Alot actually. Oftentimes you will see them while driving in the neighborhoods, or even on runs....I'll see a looming shadow/form up ahead and it will be a deer. Hah, it's kind of awkward sometimes because I think they are a bit used to people, and they will just stand there looking at you...and both parties stand there frozen until one (usually the deer) eventually walks away. But I have not seen any deer below my balcony until now! I saw this pretty buck the other day...though he was more towards the bottom of the hill. I tried coaxing him upwards with bits of apple and baby carrots. He didn't come up very close....but he was still really nice to look at!

Hello there, Mr. Deer.

I hope you appreciated that honeycrisp apple and baby carrots!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Absolutely spoiled

This is the little love of my life....Tesia. I cannot even begin to describe how spoiled she is. Here, she is enjoying a fire I made in my fireplace the night I was packing to leave for California. It was pretty chilly that night, and I thought I fire would be nice and get me into the Christmas spirit. Usually Tesia is afraid of the fire....she doesn't like the crackling sounds, or the roar of the flames (usually because I am using some old box to get it going, so its quite intense). But that night was different story. I guess its because I had given her some tuna while it was burning (you can see her little food dish in front of the fireplace), and she was eating it while the fire was going. I think thats when she realized the heat it gave off was a good thing, because right after she finished eating, she planted her little toosh right there and stretched out just like that. Even later, when the fire was dying down, and I had to bring in some more logs to put on, she would not move and made me awkwardly position myself to refuel the fire. She gave me this look that said, "Hey lady, I'm not moving, so make it work." It's like, "sorry! please don't let me disturb you!" Sheesh.
I swear she is a human trapped in a cat's body.
I guess Santa thought she was good this year because when I came back from CA, there was a new little cat bed for her and a remote-controlled catnip mouse. She loves chasing it. Thanks Ryan!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

a dozen flowers

Spending Christmas back at home was amazing. It was a nice long break from work....and actually a break. Usually my trips back home are filled with driving and seeing everyone, that it becomes quite exhausting, and though a break from work, not really a break. This time however, there was lots of time just hanging out and doing "whatever"....so it was a refreshing break. As always, it is so good to be surrounded by loved ones.
Highlights from the trip:
Christmas Eve eve. I fly into California really freaking early in the morning. I stayed up all night the night before finishing up packing and present stuff. My flight left austin at 6am, which meant I had to leave for the airport at four. fitful flight...couldn't sleep. Dad picked me up at John Wayne and met with everyone for breakfast at Mimi's. The night, went out with the girls to dinner at the Yardhouse and went bowling. We teamed up....me, ash and mem vs. Chanelle, Ingrid and Alyss. We got spanked. Ingrid and Alyssa alone beat us. Those girls are (no offense) beasts. They just had to hurl the ball down the alley and it would be a strike...they are so strong. I was also consistently robbed....too many times would I throw it straight down, and one pin would be left standing. Meryl, who granny rolls it down had more strikes and spares than me. Actually, I didn't have a single one!
Christmas Eve. My brother, Ben's, birthday. I made his birthday dinner: roasted veal chops with tarragon-wine sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, salad, shrimp scampi and sauteed sesame green beans with bacon (a true man's meal...look at all that meat!) This was followed by chocolate on chocolate birthday cake. YUMMY!!
Christmas day. We opened presents EARLY this year since my cousin Meryl could only spend Christmas morning until 10am with us, and Tante Bay, Alyssa and Brad had to leave for the Christmas morning service (in Cerritos) by 8:30. So, everyone was over at our house about 7am. Yowzers. We also had a girl my mom mentors, Joy, and an exchange student from Rwanda over (Alex). We usually do a secret santa for the group since we are too big to get presents for everyone. And this year we also did a group white elephant exchange. I'd say the best presents were a legit espresso (YES, espresso) machine, which was nicely stolen and kept by Alex and a calculator set in Jell-O a la Jim (by Ingrid). My dad got stuck with that one. Even funnier was that it was HIS calculator that Ingrid took from his office. NICE. I made all the girls a pair of earrings. Aunt Kristin and Whitney (from my dad's side) flew in from New Mexico that night, as did Meryl's brother, Willem from Oregon.

a dozen flowers

one pair

I made these by cutting out little discs of a satiny material, and then singed the edges with a match. Since it is a synthetic material (polyester), the edges melted and caused the discs to curl upwards and create that little ribbed effect at the edge. I did that for all three discs, then secured them together with thread while also adding the swarovski crystal to the center. The red pairs have a black crystal in the center, as do two of the pink pairs. The other two pink pairs have a dark purple crystal. Once the flower was finished, I also secured them to a little "bell" shaped metal backing which also helped give the flower more shape, and glued this to an earring backing with my hot glue gun. Ingrid has sensitive skin, so I was also able to find sterling silver posts to make hers with. All in all, I think they turned out pretty nice...especially since I was doing this up until it was about time for me to leave for the airport! It was a serious challenge though trying to get them all the same size... and sometimes I would get a disc too close to the match and it would turn black, or cut in way too much, or burn all together, and I would have to cut a new one out and start over. As you can see by that last picture, they are not perfectly the same, but its really hard to tell when they are on separate ears. Chanelle wore hers while I was there and they were so cute on her!
Day after Christmas. Dinner with Miq's (Ben's GF) family at Macaroni Grill. This is so far a family tradition, that we started last year. It is always good and fun to see them, and our parent's were quite involved in conversation and two bottles of wine. Us kids spent the whole time coloring and drawing on the tables. We closed the place down. We also took a family picture for our holiday cards. (we send them out late, so that everyone can be included in the family photo.)
New Year's Eve. Everyone came over to our house...I think we had thirty people over. The whole day was spent preparing for dinner and games all night. We had my mom's famous Sate (pork marinated in sweet soy sauce and garlic, "kabobed", and cooked over a habachi grill) with white rice, yummy spicy peanut sauce, and cucumber salad. It is definitely a favorite in our family. But like I said....THIRTY people. Cutting all that meat was no fun...my arm was sore. But once everyone was there (all the San Diego cousins and their spouses, Aunt Kristin and Whitney, Stevie and his brother, Alex, and some people from my parents' Bible study group ..am I missing anyone?) we had a great time playing games and being together.
New Years Day. Ashley, Briana and I went snowboarding. I was really scared. It had been over six years since I last went, and I wasn't any good even then. But it wasn't such a disaster. I never fell while getting off the lift. Earlier in the day was definitely better than later. I was going faster and actually carving. But later in the day, I was quite tired and it got cooler and ICY, I fell more often and ended up with a bruised tailbone and being gun-shy about falling again. So I spent most of the time just slowing myself down, which if you have any experience snowboarding just makes you even MORE tired. nonetheless, it was fun and a great time with the two of them, and more personal.

Briana, me, Ashley
On the ski lift going up the mountain

It was a perfect break and I couldn't have asked for more!!